From the moment the film begins, when we witness Emma (Alison Pill) and Bob (Tyler Labine) have relations while on their lunch break, in a sex doll factory, you know the film you are about to watch its not like most you've seen before. The visuals paired with the atmosphere immediately welcomes you into the quirky world that is Pedro Morelli’s new film, Zoom.
This tale is comprised of three stories focusing on creatives in the art world: the comic book artist Emma, the novelist Michelle (Mariana Ximenes), and the film director Edward (Gael Garcia Bernal). These three individuals are interwoven in a complex story that opens the door to questioning life as we know it within fate.
You don’t have to read the description of the movie to experience the Pop Art references and tone of Zoom. Between the subtle peculiarity of the characters to the art within art motif, the influences are strong. The film is interesting because it handles the polarizing art technique as it balances the concentration of the structure. If you are a fan of this genre of art, then you’ll breathe in the eccentricity with fervor, but it’s subdued enough to fly past the casual viewers with little to no imprint.
However, the beautiful way the story unfolds, in all of its complexity and interdependence, Zoom can only be revered in this way. The myriad of lives that become sliced together mimics the comic panels within a page, each thriving on the previous to influence the next. While this approach is ordinary in the art world, its dominate showcase in a film is imaginative. It’s refreshing to see a recycled medium breath life into a familiar creative realm. The audience becomes lost in the artistry of the storytelling.
This is helped along by the cast. While none are the mainstays of conventional film, the cast is perfect in their representations of the characters. There isn’t the expectation of past careers, instead you can focus on the here and now. Even if you are familiar with their work, from either the accustomed facial contours or their reverberant idioms, the multi-media manifesto of the film allows the actors to disappear.
For me, my favorite examples are of Bernal’s cohorts Horowitz and Marissa, played astutely by Don McKellar and Jennifer Irwin respectfully. Slings and Arrows, a regarded Canadian television show from the early 2000s is the alma matter, so to speak, of McKellar and Irwin. Since these two are, quite literally, drawn in a new light from their previous works, it was stunning to experience their performance with fresh eyes.
The pacing of the film is brilliant. There is never a question that there is more to what is on the surface, but the audience is allowed to emerge into the waters with ease. It’s a gradual decent, allowing for adequate time for adjustment to the new pressures. This assimilation into the complexity assists in accepting the creative storytelling that Morelli and screenwriter Matt Hansen have laid upon the viewer. There is a trust created between all which produces a safety net, one the audience dives enthusiastically into.
Any film that is influenced by the Pop Art movement is going to have some mangled representations, and Zoom is no exception. The exception comes into play with the reasoning behind them. Never once does the audience question the course in front of them, it makes sense in the world they are visiting. At one point it’s viewed as a “convoluted mess,” that the “universe doesn’t like it when you fuck with it,” and that can’t be a more accurate representation of the absurdity of fictional life than this. In the end, it doesn’t matter. With the willingness to trust our tour guides to entertain us in a meaningful manner, the journey can be as incongruous as it pleases.
What this all boils down to, is a universally entertaining film. All filmatic elements worked together in unison to build a revitalizing motion picture. It has all the makings of becoming a cult classic for film lovers, one that can play in rotation for years to come. Like the film itself, the layers don’t stop with the art influences it boasts. If one was so inclined, the viewer could unlock the door to something more meaningful and genuine. The fact is that those sly advances are present, it’s your decision to open the door and wake up if you choose to.
Zoom is playing in limited theaters around the country and available on VOD platforms on September 2nd, 2016.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Images provided by Prodigy Public Relations